Friday 31 October 2008

The Imaginary Reviewer has had a Very Busy Week so he's Reposting an Old Horror Film Review

The latest directoral masterpiece from Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon) comes just in time for Hallowe'en. Evil Blood II: The Hurtening is the sequel to the popular 2002 horror film in which Eliza Dushku and Sean William Scott were chased around an abandoned quarry by a ghostly quantity surveyor. This film, set three years after the events in the prequel, sees the quarry once again possessed by the spirits of the damned, but this time they mean business!

And what business they do! Lee's fine direction brings a wonderfully thrilling sense of aesthetic pleasure to the many death scenes. The garroting and facial slicing of one character is particularly gruesome, but with Lee's keen eye for colour the blood, puke and eye fluid have a gloriously vivid beauty. The settings, too, are stunning; in the wrong hands a cabin full of pig carcasses and human corpses stuffed with offal could look grotesque and unpleasant. But in The Hurtening this building is rendered with such feeling, such sensitivity, that it is almost chapel-like in its gothic beauty.

Lee's talents don't end there. He has managed to wrangle the most moving performances from his cast. Dame Judy Dench, for example, is simply remarkable in the role of Brenda. I really did believe that she was a high-school dropout caught between the whims of her parents and the desire for rebellion. Also, the role of Sherrif Bick was perfect for John Hurt, who can convey so much disbelief in the stories of children with a simple gravelly expression. Dame Thora Hird also shines as the evil ghosts' leader.

The story itself is rich with allegory and laden with hidden meaning. Ostensibly a tribute to the works of Luis Brunel and Ray Harryhausen, there are too many different interpretations in each stab wound and red-hot poker through the stomach to mention here. There's also a subtle nod in the direction of the US government in the form of a brief side plot in which a load of soldiers attack a foreign country and get their arses kicked by a load of terrorists.

To summarize then, Evil Blood II: The Hurtening is another glorious entry into the annals of cinema, all made possible by the genius of Ang Lee. I await his next picture - a live-action adaptation of the Thundercats cartoon - with bated breath.

Evil Blood II: The Hurtening opens on October 19th in several cinemas in London and fuck all else. Ang Lee will be appearing at an in-store tit signing in HMV, Great Yarmouth on the 21st.

And to say sorry for the repeat, here's my favourite scary video. Enjoy!

Tuesday 28 October 2008

Meme Indulgence

I've been tagged on the current meme that's doing the rounds by two people, which I guess means that people want to know some odd facts about me. The rules of this very popular meme are as follows:

1. Link to the person that tagged you

2. Post the rules on your blog

3. Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself

4. Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs

5. Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website

6. Let your tagger know when your entry is up

So, here we are, six non-important Reviewing-based things about The Imaginary Reviewer:

1: My first published review was for my high school computing and video games magazine, Flipback, when I was 11. It was a review of a game for the ZX Spectrum called Kwik Snax, in which you controlled a boxing glove-wearing egg called Dizzy and had to push objects around a room to kill enemies and collect fruit. I gave it an excellent review, as it was my favourite game at the time.

Flipback magazine was universally hated due to the fact that it was written by six of the most uncool people in the whole school (myself included). It ran for two issues before internal strife caused the magazine to implode. I played Kwik Snax on a Spectrum emulator two months ago and completed it on my first go.

2: As a music reviewer for my University newspaper, I wanted to write as much as possible, so I volunteered to review the stuff nobody else wanted. As such, my first published piece for the paper was a review of a single by Chris De Burgh, called ‘A Woman’s Heart’. I gave it one star and used the CD as a very dangerous Frisbee in my back garden.

3: I gained notoriety in my student newspaper for writing scathing reviews, to the point where the editor would refuse to give the utter shite stuff to anyone else but me. I will never forget the announcement he made during one such editorial meeting: “Okay, next up for grabs is the new single by Tom Jones featuring the Stereophonics, a cover of ‘Mama told me not to come’. I think you’ll all agree, we need to give this to [The Imaginary Reviewer], as he can give it the treatment it so sorely deserves.”

As a result of this, I still have a large collection of terrible CDs, including singles by the Moffatts, the Motorhomes and Remy Zero.

4: The best review I ever wrote was an informative review of a Noh Theatre performance I attended when I lived in Japan. I’d reprint it here but this isn’t really the place for reviews of things that do exist. If I ever start the Maginary Review (?) you can read it.

5: My hero in the world of reviewing is the former NME writer Steven Wells. In the January 26, 2001 issue of the New Musical Express, he reviewed the single ‘Always: Your Way’ by the band My Vitriol thusly:

“Fuck bollocks wank fuck shit AAAAAAAARGH!”

Clearly, the man is a genius.

6: The precursor to the letters I have sent to Now Toronto and Eye Weekly magazines (reprinted on this blog) was a letter I sent to the makers of Kit-Kat chocolate bars, nearly 5 years ago. I related an incident in which I had eaten a Kat-Kat bar in which the wafer was missing from half of each individual finger. I adopted the voice of an aging professor and the letter included a diagram of the bar in question, made using WordArt. I received a lovely response which outlined the manufacturing process and how it can occasionally lead to such events.

7: I can say, with all honesty and forthrightness, that I, the Imaginary Reviewer, have a fantastic arse.

I know I was only required to do six facts, but that last one was sufficiently important for me to break the rules.

I now have to nominate some other people for the meme. I think just about everyone in the world and their mum has either done this or been nominated, so I'd like to nominate The Sausage Lord, who used to comment on my blog and who didn't have a blog of their own then. Where are you, Sausage Lord? Who are you, Sausage Lord? What are you doing now, oh Lord of the Sausages?

I miss you.

Sunday 26 October 2008

The Imaginary Reviewer Writes a Letter, Part 5

Loyal readers will remember my attempts to secure employment at Now Toronto Magazine, an ultimately futile endeavour given the fact that everyone working for that Godforsaken rag is a complete tit. For those of you unfamiliar with that Sissyphean quest, see the links on the right of the screen for parts 1 to 4.

My disappointment at Now Toronto Magazine's utter shiteness has subsided, and I have affixed my gaze on one of Now's competitors in the world of free weekly listings magazines based in Toronto: Eye Weekly. I have sent out a very nice letter, which I reproduce below. Please keep your fingers crossed for me, I need to eat and soon.

(Clicky = biggy)

Friday 24 October 2008

New Technology Review: The Gravalax 43M

CeteraPeter Industries have just released the Gravalax 43M, the long awaited update to their outstandingly successful Di-partichoke series of Deltron 5050 Waveform Collectivizers. Since the company amalgamated with Schismbot Technologies and Uncle Peter’s Brilliant Contraptions Inc., CeteraPeter’s control of the Waveform Collectivizer market has grown by a factor of at least lots and lots and lots. Indeed, if one were to ask a knowledgeable journalist for a metaphor to describe CeteraPeter’s dominance of the industry, they would probably come up with a giant undulating blob that encompasses everything on the Eastern Seaboard, with eyes as big as houses.

So, the question on everybody’s mouthpieces is: has such dominance made CeteraPeter Industries lazy? Will the Gravalax series perform as well as the Di-partichokes? Or will it be another Cropule NgwyTwentyTwenty, the ill-fated Waveform Collectivizer that was removed from shop shelves after users couldn’t find the ‘on’ switch?

Actually, those were the three questions on everybody’s mouthpieces. Many questions! And only one Imaginary Reviewer to answer them! To it I go!

On first use, the 43M has a luxuriant freebase potential with regard to the esses and exes, with particularly high cromulence in the upper echelons. I couldn’t find a way to remove the white noise around the infinity-plus-one ratio, but that’s not unusual in seaweed-powered machines like this. I hear that CeteraPeter Industries have recognised this problem and plan to release a free patch that will fix all kelp-based errors by Smarch, so this should not remain an issue for long.

Another observation about general use with the 43M: I was unable to perform a Capstan Furrow Analysis with the machine unless I removed all of my clothes. This is not necessarily a complaint.

One of the main tests of a good Waveform Collectivizer is how well it adjusts the suspended sevenths with regard to negative equity in the poop-shute. With some tweaking I managed to eke out a turnaround of point two five, but the default setting is negative goose, and nobody wants to lose a goose. This is probably the biggest weakness of the device.

Also bad: if you use the 43M for more than three hours straight, it will start to attract Dickensian urchins. I think this was also a problem with the Di-Partichoke XL5, and it seems that CeteraPeter have been unable to fix it as yet. My recommendation for dealing with this problem involves a crossbow and a shovel; you may find a better method.

All in all, the Gravalax 43M has some interesting new features that make it stand out from other Waveform Collectivizers, such as the Bifurcation Ray and the Snooze Button. It’s probably the best in its class, but doesn’t really warrant an upgrade for anyone who owns a Di-Partichoke 900 Series and above. At sixpence per metric ounce, the 43M is cheaper than a platinum hippo, but not by much. I’d wait six months, and hope for a price decrease or lottery win before purchasing.

The Gravalax 43M from CeteraPeter Industries is available from all branches of Qwertylicious, Megabyte Barn and Binary Ferret. You can get it in any colour, so long as it’s transparent. Sorry, I’ve not been well this week.

Tuesday 21 October 2008

The One Wonder Meme

Regular readers may remember Craig, whose mix tape for his friend Becky was reviewed last month. His obvious attempts to get her to see him as more than a friend were roundly dismissed in this blog, and it is highly unsurprising that while she still sees him as a pal, she is still completely oblivious to his lust for her.

In her blog earlier this week, Becky tagged several people with the One Wonders meme, in which bloggers must respond to single-word prompts about their likes and preferences. Craig was one of the people tagged, and I’ve decided to have a look at his responses with this critical eye I’m so fond of using. Let’s have a look, shall we?

Unsurprisingly, Craig begins very poorly in his responses, wasting no time in making terrible attempts to impress the object of his affections. For the first word, ‘Clothes’, Craig answers as follows: “Obviously, Calvin Briefs, lol! Seriously though, whatever’s comfortable…jeans and a band t-shirt usually.”

This mention of his underwear in the first question is Craig’s attempt to get Becky to picture him as a Calvin Klein model, standing before her in his briefs with his massive package looming and his washboard abs glistening in the morning sunlight. But really, it comes across as desperate and embarrassing, despite his attempts afterwards to answer seriously.

For the second word, ‘Furniture’, Craig quite obviously tries to look like a metrosexual guy in touch with his inner interior designer. He pulls non-existent furniture brand names out of his ass, saying things like ‘I’m a big fan of Gabsack futons’ and ‘If I could afford one, I’d get a Dipthong lamp’. A cursory Google search will show that this is fibbery of the highest order, and Craig ought to do some research if he wants to impress Becky with his furniture knowledge.

Craig’s answers are all so incredibly self-conscious, so obviously done with Becky in mind, that when reading his blog it feels like stumbling across a poorly-written love letter in meme form. And it’s so confused: For the ‘City’ question, he writes about his love of the ‘beauty of the cherry blossoms in Washington’ like a big girl, but in the next question, ‘Drink’, he attempts to make himself look manly by bragging about how many pina coladas he can slam.

Then we get to the pop culture questions, where we see what Craig’s favourite music, TV series and films are. In order to show off his vast knowledge of every band, movie and show out there, Craig lists about nine hundred of each. If Becky is anything like I am, she’ll have glossed over this entire section altogether, pausing only to note with a bored shrug that the poor dickhead likes Massive Attack and Harvey Birdman.

Craig is so eager to look like a suitable boyfriend for Becky that for the next question he claims to work out three times a week, but doesn’t specify how. I was tempted to leave a comment on his blog that said “wanking doesn’t count as a workout, dickhead”, but I thought better of it, as I don’t like mocking the afflicted too much.

For the final two words, ‘pastries’ and ‘coffee’, Craig blatantly copies what Becky wrote, in a vain attempt to seem more compatible with her. He even mentions it at the end of his post, pretending to be surprised by how much they have in common. I’ve seen better acting in a nativity play at a school for hearing-impaired children.

Once again, Craig has managed to embarrass himself tremendously with his awful attempts to woo the lovely Becky. His responses to the One Wonder Meme on his blog were very poor, and he’ll have to up his game if he’s going to be within a shout of getting his friend to play Hide the Sausage.

Thanks to Suze for tagging me with this meme. In case you’re wondering, my responses are: Jeans & T-shirt, Papasan chair, brownies, Kyoto, Scotch whisky (preferably from Islay), Mogwai, Pushing Daisies, Amelie, Walking 6k to and from work every day, Cornish Pasties, and black with sugar.

Thursday 16 October 2008

The Guelph Annual Flower, Plant, Fruit, Vegetable and Other Things That Grow Show

As the old saying goes, “You can lead a horticulture, but you can’t make her enjoy it”. Well, the annual horticulture event at Guelph, the Guelph Annual Flower, Plant, Fruit, Vegetable and Other Things That Grow Show is running now, and this reviewer certainly enjoyed it when he visited last weekend. I thought I’d share some of my highlights from the event, like a philanthropic bastard.

By far the most impressive thing on display in the Fruit Quarter was the Daily 5 Encouragement Fruit, designed and created by Dave and Yvonne Williams Organically Genetically Enhanced Produce, Inc. The Williamses have managed to alter the genetic makeup of several types of fruit, so that when you cut into them, the seeds inside the fruit are arranged to form that day’s Dilbert cartoon. By growing the fruit this way, Dave and Yvonne hope to encourage people to eat their recommended daily intake of five servings of fruit. They are currently in talks with various other cartoonists, and soon we may be seeing Garfield when we bite into a pear and Sherman’s Lagoon when we cut an orange in half.

The Bubble-wrap Tree was grown by a man from America after he cross pollinated a sycamore with a daschund. It should prove to be one of the most sought-after new trees in the world, as its seeds are just like plastic bubble wrap, and after around five years of growth this tree will, if tended properly, yield around a ton of the stress-relieving packing material per annum. I tested some of the bubble wrap and it was highly satisfying to pop, with a great finger sensitivity ratio but merely adequate popping volume. Overall, it’s between Grand & Toy and Staples on the quality scale.

I wasn’t a big fan of the Monsanto Corporation’s Upside-Down Corn, in the Monsanto-sponsored Innovations Zone. In order to save space they’ve managed to make corn grow underground, with the roots sticking up out of the soil. They had some of this new corn for people to taste, and to me it was a little too earthy. When I approached a Monsanto employee to discuss this with them, I was tasered repeatedly until I was a blubbering heap on the floor. Apparently this is a new PR practice, so they’re in my Big Book of Bad People Who do Bad Things to Nice Reviewers.

The Farmers’ Market at the show was a big success, and I managed to pick up two wonderful farmers, Greg and Philip, who now live in my shed. If they’re good I let them in the garden where they dance and play and sing and tell hilarious stories about wheat.

Finally, the Interactive Virtual Reality Vegetable Experience is the latest hi-tech invention from the Canadian Agricultural Association. Using up-to-the-minute technology they let you experience what it’s like to be a cucumber, asparagus or broccoli, from the moment of conception until being put into a supermarket salad. While the growing stages were a little boring, I really did feel like I got a sense of what it’s like to be a vegetable, and to be honest I was a little disoriented when it was over. I found it very hard to walk, as I thought my feet were still planted in an allotment. The Interactive Virtual Reality Vegetable Experience is not recommended for pregnant women, small children or Belgians.

The Guelph Annual Flower, Plant, Fruit, Vegetable and Other Things That Grow Show will run until a week on Tuesday, but you won’t be able to go after this weekend because of that thing you said you’d help your sister do next week. Yeah, I know it’s an inconvenience, but you said you’d do it and she’s relying on you. Well, you shouldn’t have said you’d do it, then, should you? Hey, I’m not going to tell her, you can tell her yourself. Tell her yourself. No, tell her yourself. Tell her yourself. You shouldn’t have said you’d do it, so tell her yourself.

God, you’re so selfish sometimes.

Tuesday 14 October 2008

New Numbers Reviewed!

Scientists and boffins of all persuasions are constantly looking for new numbers out there in the vast expanse of space. One of the reasons why the CERN Large Hadron Collider got as much funding as it did was because the physicists in charge promised to find at least four new numbers between eighty and a hundred. So far they haven’t found any because a cat wandered into one of the particle accelerators and now all of the machine’s insides are covered in fur and bits of stomach.

I’ve been looking at the latest in new number findings, and I’m going to write them down like a crazy person with a quill.

Fingma is a slightly irrational number, but not too irrational. It’s about as irrational as taking two umbrellas to a PTA meeting. Fingma is divisible by twelve, but only on weekdays. On weekends it’s known as Cassandra and frequents bars of ill repute, where it cannot be divided by any number, as they’re all too scared of the doorman. This is a shoddily made number, with an unfortunate vagueness around its median, mean and mode.

Named after the genius who discovered it, Seventy Ian comes between seventy two and seventy three. It was found by bisecting a triangle number horizontally, to form a parallelogram number and a smaller triangle number. This latter number was accidentally discarded with some potato peelings and probably will never be seen again. Seventy Ian does not behave well with others, and has anger issues.

NASA has decided that the negative numbers are not being used enough, and are rebranding them in the hope of increasing their popularity. The first such rebranded number is -8, which will now be known as Negative Decadence and will be covered in diamonds. Negative Decadence will be very similar to -8, just a little bit more shiny. I can’t wait to use this negative number, and I plan very big things for it. NASA will release the second new negative number, Negative Sexy, in spring.

Some men with long white coats and bad dandruff problems took the number six thousand, translated it into Japanese with an online translator, and then translated the result back into English. The result, Happy Young \(^o^)/ Go-Chan!-Thousand, is a much better version of six thousand. It can only be multiplied by numbers after they defeat it in hand-to-hand combat and it tastes of squid. Sadly, Happy Young \(^o^)/ Go-Chan!-Thousand has the unfortunate tendency to get drunk on weeknights, and so it adds and subtracts inconsistently after 6:00pm.

Finally, Bwelve is Twelve’s evil identical twin brother who recently admitted to locking his sibling up in a shed for the last three years and assuming his identity. Mathematicians around the world began being suspicious of the number when it uncharacteristically tried to seduce Thirty-Five and was caught attempting to smother Sixty-Six. Twelve has now been returned to action, but any transaction made using the number Twelve since July 2005 will have actually used Bwelve, and must therefore be made again.

Thursday 9 October 2008

Last Night’s TV

Because of nasty incident involving a plate of knives and my groin, last night I was unable to go as planned to the Toronto Spinderella Ballroom and check out hot new band Gruntfuck Episode, so my review of their gig will have to wait until they return to the city. Instead, I was forced to sit on my arse and enjoy several hours of prime time television. Here’s my review of that, instead.

At 6:00 I watched America’s Funniest Home Videos on ABC, and laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed as people fell over. They fell into pools, off tables, off tables into pools, off pool tables, off pool tables into pools and out of pools and into tables. Oh, and there was a cat that could open doors. And then the cat fell into a pool. Brilliant stuff.

7:00 saw the first episode of an excellent new show, America’s Prissiest Waiters (NBC). Security camera and home video footage captured some of the most outrageously prim and proper food servers in the US. I watched with awe as a guy with a pencil-thin moustache wearing a waistcoat told a child not to throw meatballs around an Italian restaurant. I gasped as a man with a ridiculous combover informed a couple that there were no remaining specials, and laughed as he then came back to apologise for the fact that there was, after all, a single serving of vegetable soup remaining. Hosted by Jon Favreau, this is a superb program.

America’s Youngest People (8:00, E!) was a very watchable and shocking tale of those forgotten children of the nation: children. Nothing could have prepared me for the sight of these babies, some of whom were just minutes old. Indeed, these had to have been America’s Youngest People. How they sleep at night, I do not know. Lullabies, probably.

One of the best shows of the new season has to be America’s Americanest Americans (9:00, ABCBABC). Hosted by Ted Nugent, this program highlights Americans living in America who epitomise being American in the most American way. This show has more stripes and more stars than the Republican Convention, with eagles and apple pie and a CGI animation of Jesus kissing the Statue of Liberty while simultaneously shooting Arabs. Do you really need me to tell you how awesome this was?

At 10:00 I switched over to CNN, where I watched America’s Currentest Events, and then before I sank into a cold, passionless slumber I caught the first two hours of America’s Adjectiviest Nouns, a show in which the most adjectivey nouns were shown on CCTV, phone camera and home video doing those verbs that make them so adjectivey. To be honest, this was a little formulaic for my liking. I’m not sure what it was, but I felt like I’d seen this all before.

I’ll see you all next week after Thanksgiving, when hopefully the morphine will have started to work on the crippling agony that floods my very being! See you then!

Wednesday 8 October 2008

New Words and Phrases Reviewed!

Here at the Imaginary Review, I like to be at the front line of linguistic creation. Lest we forget, I am responsible for the genesis of such excellent new words and phrases as ‘Cockroar’, ‘Apewail’ and ‘Cacophonic bellyhurt of wonderyay’. I’m sure you’ll agree, it’s only a matter of time before everyone is using these on a regular basis, even newsreaders, tennis players and high court judges.

Given this loyalty to the cause of clause applause, I think I am more than able to analyse some of the latest new words and phrases that are hitting the streets like suicidal bankers. Here are my findings!

Chump-trumpet is the new slang word for a mobile phone that is hopelessly outdated and doesn’t even have picture taking capabilities, let alone a terabyte-sized storage space for Panic at the Disco songs. (Example usage: “What’s that brick you’ve got there, John? Oh Christ, that’s a chump trumpet and no mistaking”)

This is a great phrase, with a pleasing almost-rhyming sound and wonderful mouth movements that feel like kisses. I’ll be using this phrase to put down all of my friends who aren’t at the bleeding edge of technological attainment, like me. Rating: A-

Gibbonning is the name given to the practice of employing attractive people to canvas for charities and religious cults in busy shopping centres. Now illegal in many parts of Europe and Australia, Gibbonning typically involves a young man being approached by a gorgeous and friendly young lady. He stops, gets talking and realises too late that she is about to force a copy of The Watchtower on him. (Example usage: “Stay away from that girl over there; she gibbonned me into becoming a Scientologist”)

The word itself is somewhat awkward, and is a little misleading given the context of the abuse of beauty. Rating: D+

Panty Banjo is the impressive skill of removing one’s underwear without affecting the outer garments. While this has been a party trick for many years when done with a bra, young people these days are becoming increasingly adept at panty banjo while wearing jeans. It has to be seen to be believed. (Example usage: “How did he manage that panty banjo while he was wearing leather trousers?”)

Panty banjo is a great little phrase, as the ‘banjo’ part evokes both images of a deftness of fingers and a useless skill. It sounds nice to hear, but saying it can be cumbersome, especially for someone whose lips have a rubber index of more than 8. Rating: B

Gnapply refers to the state of being irritable and bad-tempered after drinking too many carbonated energy drinks. Known in some US states as a ‘judder spasm’, this condition has been known to have caused at least one death since 1998. (Example usage: “Sorry for kicking your aunt last night, mate, I was a bit gnapply”)

I’m somewhat ambivalent towards this phrase. I’m not sure why. The silent ‘g’ really gives it a kick from the start, but by ‘ly’ at the end I’ve lost interest. Plus it also has the potential to be mistaken for ‘nipply’, which, as we all know, is what happens to ladies when it’s cold and Orlando Bloom is on TV. Rating: C+

Monday 6 October 2008

The Time-Life CD Commercial Anthology: 8 DVD Box Set

I will admit, when I sat down to this 60-hour box set of Time-Life CD commercials, I wasn’t full of optimism for a good time well spent. Normally the presence of one of these ads on my TV screen elicits a weary sigh and a hasty click on the remote. But when I forced myself to sit through these 8 DVDs, I found myself enthralled and entertained, like a manchild with a hoop.

The DVDs are arranged chronologically by half-decade. For my money, the best parts of the box set came in the latter years, once the Time-Life team had reached the peak of their talents. The wonderful and much-missed 2002 commercial for the Time-Life Best of Gangsta Rap compilation is a personal highlight for me. Hosted by Patrick Duffy, this is pure gold from the gunshot-strewn intro to the news that calling in the next seventeen minutes will earn the buyer a set of free commemorative plates featuring Dr. Dre, MC Ren and KRS-1. Everything is beautifully produced: the five-second song snippets segue flawlessly, the font used to display selected titles is superb and Duffy’s interaction with co-presenter Coolio is jovial and not at all forced.

Similarly, the ad for 1995’s Time-Life Presents: 6 CDs of Songs about Forests is a marvellous example of the pseudo infomercial. Set in a wooded glade and hosted by Fabio, the commercial is ten minutes of pure poetry set around the leitmotif of a totally unnecessary musical compilation. Fabio is an excellent compere, switching effortlessly between serious (when describing the first time he heard a song about a forest and closed his eyes and actually believed he was in a forest!) and playful (when he’s dancing around, pretending to be a wood nymph). When he looks into the camera and excitedly informs us that the first fifty callers will get their reward in Heaven, well, I truly believe it.

Earlier commercials are less impressive. The first DVD, showcasing the first Time-Life CD box set adverts, has a naive charm, but the anthology’s compilers could have omitted everything on the DVD without missing anything special. Rock n Roll Classics, Doo Wop Legends, Rock n Roll Classics Volume 2: The EnRockening, Rock n Roll Classics Volume 3: This Time it’s Rock!!, Doo Wop Legends 2: More Doo, Even More Wop and Rock n Roll Songs That Aren’t Quite Classics But We Ran Out of Classics so Have These Instead: All ads for these compilations lack that special something that makes the later ones so enjoyable. Where are the bonus offers for early purchasers? Where is the grainy stock footage of 50s dancers cutting a rug? Where is the photo of young Elvis pointing at the camera and winking? These details are what make future ads great, and these early attempts are done no favours by their omission.

But the joy that can be had from the other DVDs is really what stands out from this anthology. Take the sight of Marilyn Manson breaking down and crying while telling the viewer about the CD collection Songs Your Grandfather Would Play as You Sat on His Knee and Looked up at Him with Wide-Eyed Wonder. Take the tripped out brilliance of the ad for Psychedelic Drug Party 4, which consists of a brightly coloured spiral spinning on the screen for 18 minutes. Take the majesty of the boudoir set where the ad for 200 Songs to Play while you’re Trying to get a Girl to Sleep with You takes place.

But wait! That’s not all! The first one hundred – yes! One hundred! – people who order this anthology will get an extra DVD featuring bonus material such as behind-the-scenes making-of featurettes! Interviews with the ads’ presenters and producers! Outtakes! A classy cardboard carry case! And much much more!

I would give the Time-Life CD Commercial Anthology collection four stars out of five. It's not perfect, but then again, who is? Apart from me, I mean. Yeah, exactly.

Postage and packing for this DVD box set is available in twenty easy instalments beginning with your first born son. The Time-Life CD Commercial Anthology DVD box set is not available in any shops, online, or through mail order. It is not available anywhere. Not even in space or in Honest Ed’s, where they’ve got everything else in existence. Your home is at risk if you do not keep up payments on a mortgage or other loan secured on it.

Thursday 2 October 2008

Choose Your Own Imaginary Review: Part 4

Last week we ripped into John Doe’s terrible balloon-falling suicide, what with its idiotic sandwich-toaster-romance subtext and abundance of kittens. I then asked you to decide on a suitable twist to this story, and you chose the one in which the young man’s family sues Sir Isaac Newton for discovering gravity.

As this week is the final instalment of the review, we need to come up with a rating for it, and for that you chose to ask a complete stranger for their phone number and add all the digits together to get a final score. So let’s play this review out!

Suicide Review: John Doe and his Sandwich Toaster (continued)

But then, to add an extra layer of tragedy to this sorry afternoon, the victims in the suicide did not end with John Doe’s splattered remains, the twisted, broken machinery of the sandwich toaster and the piles of dead kittens. No, centuries-old scientists were also affected by this senseless waste of human life after John Doe’s family decided to sue Sir Isaac Newton for inventing gravity. This makes the suicide even worse, in my opinion.

As the recently-dug-up scientist was unable to speak for himself (being, as he was, a rotten corpse), his silence was deemed by the court to be a sense of unspeakable guilt at the evil created by his invention, gravity. The jury sentenced him to several years in jail for manslaughter, but as he was taken away his remains dissolved in the air, forcing a nationwide manhunt for the invisible genius. All of this could have been avoided if John Doe hadn’t been selfish enough to commit suicide in such a rubbish way.

So, with all that in mind, I am going to give this suicide a rating of

You finish typing, and, as always, go out to find someone who will give you their telephone number so that you can add the digits together to get a score. Seeing an individual with potential waiting a bus stop, you tap them on the shoulder and cough slightly, grabbing their attention. As they turn around, you give them your favourite pick-up line:

“Nice legs! What time do they open?”

This line, which has never failed to get you someone’s telephone number in the past, fails to impress the generously-muscled young man to whom you said it. He brings his forehead down at the bridge of your nose with such alarming pace that you are flung to the floor. Your final thought, while the man gets on his bus and darkness begins to seep throughout your consciousness is: “my review…I didn’t get to finish my review…”

Back in your apartment, the opened Word document is still displayed on your computer screen, the insertion point flashing where you were supposed to enter the rating. The monitor flickers, and the energy-saving algorithm kicks in, turning the screen off. Your review remains unfinished.

Sorry, You Have Failed This Time! Why Not Go Back And Start Again?

Wednesday 1 October 2008

Film Review: Three Men and Two and a Half Men

After the tragic death of Steve Guttenberg during the filming of last year’s Three Men and a Baby Whale, fans of the Three Men film series were divided as to whether another sequel to the hugely popular Three Men and a Baby should be made. Director Ian Pinchcock has ignored the desires of the fickle masses, and jumped straight into making a fourth film, Three Men and Two and a Half Men.

Original Three Men cast members Tom Selleck and Sam From Cheers are joined by eighties throwback actor Corey Haim in the role vacated by Guttenberg. The plot of 3M&2&1/2M (catchy!) revolves around this masculine trio being forced to look after a dorky simpleton, his fat son and Charlie Sheen, after Tom Selleck’s character rescues them from a sinking dinghy. Fans of the unfathomably popular sitcom Two and a Half Men will love seeing their favourite characters gurning their way through two hours of inoffensive fart jokes and hilarious homosexual relationship misunderstandings with Haim et al.

Indeed, there is a lot to love about this film, from the bit where Charlie Sheen is walking in one direction, sees an attractive woman and changes direction to follow her mid-sentence, to the bit where the eponymous three men are forced to hide the eponymous two and a half men when having a romantic dinner for six with their girlfriends. And who can forget the bit where the fat kid burps? I’m still laughing at that bit now.

But fans of the original …and a Baby, …and a Little Lady and …and a Baby Whale will be disappointed by the lack of the familiar subtext wherein three males are brought together by the steadying influence of an immature female. I know there are numerous clubs and societies dedicated to discussing the constant feminist undertones in the 3 Men oeuvre, and they will be dismayed by the fact that the three men are not joined together by a female, but by a dork, a fat kid and a womanising buffoon. The overwhelming masculinity of this film is such that I had grown an extra testicle by the time the credits started rolling.

In summary, Three Men and Two and a Half Men is a relatively enjoyable romp through the psyche of the vapid American male, and Corey Haim does a good job of stepping in Guttenberg’s shoes. But there is still something lacking once one gets beyond the moustaches and farts, and that thing is women. I give this film three stars, which means you’ll avoid it in the cinema, but you might watch it on DVD later. And when you do, you can look out for the ghost of Steve Guttenberg, which is rumoured to appear behind a curtain in one of the scenes.

Incidentally, the makers of this film are already planning a sequel, Three Men and Two and a Half Men and the Man in the Iron Mask. I bet it’s rubbish.